Carbon dioxide removals (CDR) complementing emission reduction efforts are needed to mitigate climate change. Many technological CDR options that could result in highly permanent removal of CO2 only exist as concepts or in very few pilot installations due to their high cost and lack of non-carbon revenue. By mapping the current public policy and private finance efforts toward CDR Perspectives’ experts find severe gaps. To align with expectations and existing targets, governments and private actors need to take several proactive steps to support and scale up CDR technologies. Only a systematically planned ensemble of policy instruments can ensure alignment with Paris Agreement objectives: One key challenge is to bring down the costs of technology-based options while avoiding rent-seeking. Allocating funding for research, development, and pilot activities transparently, competitively, and with continual assessment is key to ensure efficiency near-term. For effectiveness, and alignment with the long-term perspective of the Paris Agreement a gradual transition to more permanent policy instruments is then required.